The U.S. Open has a 'Rona problem and a Drone-a problem -- meaning there's concern about unmannned aircrafts infiltrating the tennis tournament ... and the NYPD is on the case.
With the U.S. Open set to go down in New York on Aug. 31, organizers have already said no fans will be allowed to attend the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sources tell TMZ Sports ... law enforcement is now anticipating an uptick in drone activity around Flushing Meadows from both journalists and fans trying to get a bird's-eye shot of the action.
We're told ... there are concerns about athlete safety and also the possibility of drones creating distractions during tournament play that could affect the event.
The NYPD tells us they will "have a counter-drone team" at the event to keep watch for anyone who violates drone laws.
"Drones are illegal over New York City and anyone using one needs to basically have a pilot's license and a flight plan," an NYPD spokesperson tells TMZ Sports.
So, how will cops catch the drone violators? We're told the NYPD will use sensors that can detect signals from drones and the handheld devices that control them.
If caught, illegal drone operators could face stiff penalties -- especially if an out-of-control drone strikes a person.
Bottom line -- just watch the action on TV.